The movie Black Panther shows the fictional nation of Wakanda that becomes a world power through the power of STEM (aka Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). So it’s appropriate that Disney is celebrating the record-breaking success of the Marvel movie with a $1 Million donation to expand STEM programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). That’s the next best thing to having Shuri’s lab, I guess.
“Marvel Studios’ Black Panther is a masterpiece of movie making and has become an instant cultural phenomenon, sparking discussion, inspiring people young and old, and breaking down age-old industry myths,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “It is thrilling to see how inspired young audiences were by the spectacular technology in the film, so it’s fitting that we show our appreciation by helping advance STEM programs for youth, especially in underserved areas of the country, to give them the knowledge and tools to build the future they want.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of America will use this one-time grant to further develop its existing national STEM curriculum, and establish new STEM Centers of Innovation in 12 communities across the country. The curriculum and new centers will serve and inspire kids and teens, with an emphasis in the following communities: Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Harlem, NY; Hartford, CT; Memphis, TN; New Orleans, LA; Oakland, CA; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; Watts, CA.
With Oakland, CA playing a prominent location in the movie, not to mention director Ryan Coogler’s life, it’s great to see it on this list
Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Centers of Innovation provide youth with hands-on, advanced technologies that stimulate creative approaches to STEM exploration, including 3-D printers, robotics, high-definition video production and conferencing equipment. In addition, a fully dedicated STEM expert will offer individual and group support, using real-world applications to help Club members develop their STEM skills and critical thinking.
“From hands-on interactive programs to critical thinking, Boys & Girls Clubs of America is committed to providing thousands of young people with the tools they need to prepare for a great future,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Thanks to Disney’s support, we can expand our outreach and allow more youth to find their passions and discover STEM careers.”
Disney has a long history of partnering with the Boys and Girls Club. Walt Disney World built a facility in nearby Pine Hills and recently took 35 studios from its comic book club to see Black Panther and a unique experience developed by Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team.
“The dedication of these students being rewarded by our Disney friends is such a special treat,” said Jose Bastias, senior service director of Boys & Girls Club—Walt Disney World Clubhouse. “This opportunity provided reassurance in their club and passion for comics by the number one entertainment company, the same one that is responsible for creating many of the heroes and heroines they so admire.”
The immersive experience will continue into March, when Disney cultural representatives from Africa visit the club branch with cultural artifacts to lead a post-movie discussion.
A big thank you to Disney for going out of its way to make a difference for the members of the Boys & Girls Club.